Tag Archives: veterinary medicine

Part 4: Many voices speaking of animal research

We recently wrote about the many existing venues, activities, and materials designed to encourage public dialogue and informed discussion about animal research.  Many individuals, institutions, and organizations contribute to public outreach and education efforts, and also take active roles in dialogue about continuing changes in practice and policy concerning animal welfare and the conduct of animal research.  This post is the fourth in a series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) hosted by Speaking of Research to highlight a wide range of individuals and groups devoted to consideration of animal research.

The National Primate Research Centers Outreach Network

The eight National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) are riding a wave of unprecedented communication, thanks to a new National Institutes of Health/Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (NIH/ORIP) outreach consortium. This consortium helps our members work together more effectively to educate the public on our many and varied educational programs.

Reaching thousands at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

One exciting result of the new consortium occurred April 27 to April 29 this year in Washington, D.C. Representatives from the National Primate Research Centers (NPRCs) spoke to an estimated 4,000 people who visited the NPRCs’ booth at the 2nd annual USA Science and Engineering Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival, which included a learning station hosted by the National Primate Research Centers, drew 150,000 people to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., this April.

Billed as “the largest celebration of science in the U.S.,” the festival featured more than 3,000 interactive exhibits, more than 100 stage shows and 33 author presentations. More than 150,000 people attended. President Barack Obama promoted the festival in keynotes and public service announcements. Special visitors to the festival included The Myth Busters and Bill Nye the Science Guy, plus Nobel Prize winners, best-selling authors, astronauts, and even a rock guitar performance by NIH Director Francis Collins.

The NPRCs’ booth featured a set of touchable and inflatable real pig lungs representing healthy and cigarette smoke-riddled lungs. Our activity not only demonstrated how smoking harms the smoker, but also helped us convey how the Primate Centers have discovered that second hand smoke can stunt infant lung development. Our interactive display also included a flip board with questions and answers about animal research and care.

Volunteers from the National Primate Research Centers educated the public about the effects of smoking on infant lung development at the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival.

– The California NPRC outreach team spearheaded the NPRCs’ participation at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Some of the consortium’s other recent activities   have included the following:

–  The Yerkes NPRC continues to host a booth on behalf of all of the NPRCs at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting.

– Jordana Lenon (Wisconsin NPRC) represented the consortium at a PR/Media Forum sponsored by the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research last October in Newark, N.J.

– Consortium participants plan to meet for the first time as a group this fall.

To share updates, materials and communicate effectively with one another­ — whether we’re planning for large events such as the USA Science and Engineering Festival, or sharing news releases and other announcements — center outreach specialists, supported by the NPRC directors and consortium facilitators, use a variety of websites and other e-media tools. We heartily contribute our share to the 188 billion emails still sent every day… and we still talk on the phone. So, although we’re working in three different time zones, from one coast to the other, we feel closer than ever in our working relationships. We plan to meet for the first time as a group this fall, and we all look forward to building new partnerships when we meet.

Students, lifelong learners benefit from many engaging programs

What are some of the many other outreach activities we plan and share? For one, we are fortunate to have developed thriving visitors programs at our centers. We host year-round K-12+ programs such as afterschool programs, campus science fairs, family science nights, science Saturdays, science teachers days, and many more activities, both on site as well as at schools and community venues. A few examples follow:

The Oregon NPRC’s tour program welcomes more than 3,000 people each year. The center also provides opportunities for young scientists to experience authentic research by supporting high school students and undergraduates in labs for summer apprenticeships.

At the California NPRC, many classroom outreach activities and lectures introduce K-12 students to nonhuman primates, biomedical research programs and careers. The center offers a large curriculum and classroom resources for teachers.

The Wisconsin NPRC provides lab demos and hands on activities for middle school and high school students participating in the annual State Science Olympiad, as well in the National Science Olympiad hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison last summer.

The Yerkes NPRC promotes an  active speakers bureaus and tours of its large indoor/outdoor facility. Yerkes also sponsors an eight-week summer internship program for high school students. The center received more than 130 applications this year for 10 spots.

In addition to tours and community outreach programs, the Tulane NPRC hosts programs for college honor societies, summer scholars, biomedical students and career tech students. Every summer, the TNPRC mentors students who work with research technicians.

The Washington NPRC recently participated in a three-day science education event at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. In July, WaNPRC will again host science teachers participating in the annual CURE (Collaborations to Understand Research and Ethics) tour and seminar, a program funded by an NIH Science Education Partnership Award.

Southwest NPRC is hosting “Science Teachers Day at Texas BioMed” this summer, with bus and walking tours, demonstrations, and an “Ethics of Animal Research” panel.

More than 4,000 people participated in activities at the National Primate Research Centers’ booth over the festival’s three days at the end of April.

Specific programs for life-long learners are also growing, such as Oregon’s Road Scholar Week, and Wisconsin’s Grandparents University and College Days participation, and Yerkes’ coordination of eight-week series for two university-based life-long learning programs. In addition to coordinating active speakers bureaus that reach business, patient advocacy and other civic groups, the NPRCs’ outreach specialists themselves are also sought after as invited educational speakers at national and international conferences.

As far as outreach and higher education, most of the NPRCs are located at major research and teaching universities. They have active veterinary care training programs, in addition to offering undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral research training programs. The New England NPRC’s commitment to education is reflected in its summer programs for pre-baccalaureate and veterinary students. The Oregon, California, and Washington NPRCs host two to three dozen veterinary and vet tech students throughout the year in two-week externships.

Learn more about the National Primate Centers and other National Institutes of Health nonhuman primate resources for research starting here.

Jordana Lenon is the Public Information Officer and Outreach Specialist for the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Speaking out for Speaking of Research

Below is a report of a talk given by Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, a private practise vet who offered to give a talk about animal research at a school on behalf of Speaking of Research. SR regularly receives requests by students and teachers to talk to scientists, and we rely on the efforts of scientists to volunteer some of their time to give these talks. The US is a big place, and the more people offering to give talks, the better coverage we have. If you would be willing to be contacted in the future about giving a talk at a local school then please email tom@speakingofresearch.com, giving your contact details and your location.

On Thursday, April 8, 2010, the same day as the Pro-Test for Science rally at UCLA, Dr. Arnold L. Goldman, a veterinarian from Canton, CT, gave a presentation on behalf of Speaking of Research, to 75 high school seniors in North Stonington, CT. Dr. Goldman’s presentation was intended as a counterpoint to the anti-research stance of animal rights groups and was the concluding element of a senior project undertaken by senior Meredith Milligan of Wheeler High School in North Stonington.

Speaking after Ms. Stefanie Clark, a youth programs coordinator for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Dr. Goldman’s presentation successfully countered HSUS arguments against biomedical research in animals. While the HSUS presentation focused on covertly obtained video footage of primates in captivity obviously intended to shock the young audience, as well as failing to distinguish product safety testing from biomedical research, Dr. Goldman presented a balanced overview.

Dr. Arnold Goldman

Using information provided by Speaking of Research, Americans for Medical Progress and the American Physiological Society, as well as his own materials, Dr. Goldman detailed the facts about biomedical research in animals. His presentation included a discussion of the moral and ethical dilemmas that exist in animal research, the actual numbers of animals used, the efforts of scientists to reduce those numbers, the myth that animal research is currently replacable, and the myth that animal data is not relevant to humans.

Dr. Goldman also went into detail about a personal experience with development of a vaccine for canine melanoma, a deadly and previously untreatable cancer, which involved one of his patients. This vaccine, originally developed using mouse DNA, eventually underwent successful clinical trials in dogs, including Dr. Goldman’s patient. The dog lived almost 2000 days beyond the expected and died from an unrelated problem. Thereafter, the vaccine’s amazing success led to clinical trials in people with melanoma, where similar success has also been achieved. The students appeared to grasp the truth that while animals used in research should be treated with respect, there is a duty to society to strive to cure disease and that these cures may help animals as well as people.

Dr. Goldman is in private practice and is also a director of Americans For Medical Progress, pro-research educational non-profit.

Speaking of Research thank Dr. Goldman for putting his time into this important cause, and urge more scientists to contact us offering to help (it is luck of the draw when we are invited to speak in schools, and where those schools will be).

Three Young Advocates Step Up

Americans for Medical Progress (AMP) decided to fund three new Hayre fellows on two Hayre Fellowships. This is a fantastic chance for three students to stand up and motivate the people in their community and beyond. AMP created the Fellowship in honor of its late Chairman, Michael D. Hayre, DVM.  Its aim is to foster young voices to speak in support of science and advancing medical knowledge through responsible animal research.

Gillian Braden-WeissBreanna CaltagaroneGillian Braden-Weiss (left) and Breanna Caltagarone (right) are two veterinary medicine students at the University of Pennsylvania. Both have extensive experience in animal sciences and have worked in shelters, clinics and laboaratories to gain crucial insights into the importance of animal welfare.

Both Hayre Fellows will work together to start the “Thank a Mouse” campaign aimed at educating private practise vets and their clients about the importance of animals in research. They have a great opportunity to reinforce the role that animals play in the development of veterinary medicine.

Megan WyethThe third Hayre Fellow might be recognizable from the Committee list. Megan Wyeth is studying for a PhD in Neurobiology at UCLA, studying epilepsy in mice. Megan was a crucial player in the highly successful UCLA Pro-Test rally in April. She plans to use the Hayre Fellowship to expand UCLA Pro-Test, now renamed Pro-Test for Science, across to other universities in California. Megan has the passion and the commitment to become a driving force for change in California.

You can read more about all three candidates.

Dr. McConnell, a long time friend and classmate of Dr. Hayre said:

We welcome Megan, Breanna and Gillian and the contributions they will make to research advocacy during their tenure as Hayre Fellows. Mike Hayre was an inspirational leader and mentor who valued the contributions students made to biomedical science and animal welfare.  He believed the future of medical advancement depended on the public’s understanding and acceptance of animal research in medicine.  I’m confident that Mike would view the work of this year’s Fellows as essential to that vision.

On behalf of Speaking of Research, we wish all three Hayre fellows the best of luck over the next year, and offer them our full support in changing public opinion in their local communities and beyond.

Regards

Tom Holder